RSPCA voice concerns about reindeer being used at festive events

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The RSPCA has expressed concerns about the welfare of the reindeer used for festive occasions.

The idea of ​​meeting a real-life reindeer at a Christmas event is exciting for people of all ages, but the animal welfare charity is concerned that these complex creatures may suffer.

Deer vets have reported a range of problems in reindeer kept in the UK, including underweight, weight loss, diarrhea, poor muscle development, poor antler growth, deformed antlers, reduced fertility and high calf mortality.

Dr Ross Klopp, RSPCA’s chief scientific director for wildlife, said: “With Christmas approaching, we and other animal charities are really concerned that reindeer used for festive events across the country could suffer in silence. The reindeer are kept here at UK General – Nearby but we always see more calls around in preparation for Christmas, which time it is taken out for parade at festive occasions.

“We understand that people are bound to see a reindeer at Christmas, but the truth is that reindeer are not easy to keep well and need specialized care – they get stressed very easily and are severely affected by many health and wellbeing issues.

“In the wild, they are predators, so they naturally hide their illnesses, and we worry that many owners may not realize that a reindeer who attends stressful and busy festive events is weak or may not be able to detect problems until very late.”

event reindeer care issues

  • Reindeer on Christmas events may be transported long distances and spend time in small pens where they have nowhere to turn and hide if they get nervous. They are often raised and fed by several members of the public, or they may take part in crowded parades.
  • They are exposed to crowded environments, surrounded by crowds, noises and lights, which can cause great stress to semi-wild animals.
  • Welfare organizations fear that many people who deal with reindeer, who are highly adapted to living in Arctic conditions, do not realize that caring for them is more complex than caring for their cloven-hoofed cousins ​​such as cattle, goats and sheep, and as a result, reindeer are suffering.

Dr Klopp added: “These animals are semi-wild and not like deer which are native to the UK and it is difficult to meet their needs in this country.

“They are unsuitable to stay in very small groups in confined spaces and are prone to a range of health and welfare problems in this country. There is also concern that those who keep small numbers of reindeer on small properties to make money from them at seasonal events are unlikely to be They have the specialized knowledge needed to properly care for these animals.”

“Unfortunately, there are no official requirements for reindeer registration and so we don’t know how many elk are kept and where they are kept.

“We love Christmas and understand why families might think paying to visit an attraction with live reindeer would be something magical and festive, but we want this to be a happy and healthy time for humans and animals alike. We ask that people take into consideration the implications for the welfare of the animals involved. And maybe they’re looking for events that don’t include live animals. Families can do something to help the local wildlife and have some festive fun, by making “reindeer food” wildlife-friendly for you to leave at the Rudolph and Wild Bird Park.”

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